Ask the Doctor- Is it Possible to Remove my TRAM Flap?

This week, Richard M. Kline Jr. M.D., of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answers your question.

Question: I had tram flap surgery 5 years ago for one breast in Sacramento at Kaiser with the Chief of plastic surgery. I am experiencing horrible pain under my breast and around the side of the breast as well. It also feels like 1000 bees are stinging me all the time. It also feels VERY heavy and not a part of my body. I’m in constant discomfort and I HATE it. Is it possible to “just remove this tram flap altogether? I am miserable and wish I had never had the surgery!

Answer:   I’m sorry you are having so much trouble. Discomfort such as yours is very rare, especially when you are reconstructed with your own tissue, but unfortunately it can happen.

Firstly, I would advise you to discuss this with your original plastic surgeon, if at all possible.

It may well be possible to remove the TRAM flap, but there is unfortunately no guarantee that this will help the pain. Has the pain always been there, or is it new? Has the appearance of the reconstruction changed? Is there any drainage, redness, or other symptoms? Imaging studies, such a contrasted MRI, may be useful. While it is not always possible to determine the origin of pain, I think it greatly increases the chances of success if the situation is studied carefully prior to taking action.

I would be happy to discuss your situation further, if you wish.

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